StudentsFirstNY’s Acting Executive Director Glen Weiner recently discussed the great need for meaningful teacher evaluations in The Buffalo News. Earlier this year, most of New York’s school districts we’re able to reach an agreement with local teachers’ unions on a new system for evaluating teachers.
It has recently become clear that some of those school districts engaged in “side deals” with local teachers’ unions to work around actual implementation of new evaluation system. Weiner calls the side deals “unconscionable” and highlights the importance of implementing a stronger system for evaluating teachers:
These “side deals,” meant to strip the new systems of accountability, are deeply troubling. They not only subvert the hard work of the governor and the Legislature, they dash any hope of replacing ineffective teachers with great ones who will improve our schools. That means already struggling school systems like Buffalo’s only stand to get worse.
Inside our schools, there is no greater indicator of a child’s future success than the quality of his or her teacher – not class size, facilities or curriculum. Boosting teacher quality will increase students’ likelihood of attending college and improve their future earning potential. Most important, it is our best chance to ensure that all kids – regardless of family income – graduate with the skills they need to succeed in life.
Meaningful evaluations are a critical first step toward improving teacher quality. Until now, most New York teachers have been rewarded based on seniority or quantity of graduate education, neither of which has been shown to drive student achievement. Effective and ineffective teachers have left our schools at the same rate because there is nothing to differentiate between them. Now we have the opportunity to foster a culture of excellence so our children have the best we can provide.